Scientists at Tel Aviv University in Israel have just identified a link between stress and tumor growth. The time when doctors should devise strategies to reduce both, researchers are focused on identifying the critical period. The duration between two weeks before and after tumor removal surgery is known as a critical period.
How Stress and Cancer Growth are linked?
This is a critical period because during this period the body suffers through physical and psychological stress. During this time, the chances of the tumor spreading to other parts of the body become even high. Therefore, during this period, there has been a greater focus on reducing saturation. According to researchers, there is a direct relationship between stress and tumor growth.
Stress Enhances Tumor Metastasis
The threat of metastases after surgery is 80 percent in pancreatic cancerous patients, 20-40 percent among patients of colorectal cancer, and 10 percent in breast cancer patients.
According to Prof. Ben-Eliyahu, when the body is under stress, especially due to surgery, some hormones are released from the body. These hormones are prostaglandins and catecholamines which are released in large quantities. Their excessive secretion suppresses the immune system. Therefore, due to the suppression of the immune system, tumor cells get an indirect and easy route to grow. The weakening of the immune system causes cancerous cells to spread rapidly.
Reduce Stress to Boost Immunity
Ben-Eliyahu and his team said that doctors should be focused on both reducing the patient’s stress levels and boosting the immune system. In this way, the chances of metastasis can be reduced. The professor said that today’s treatment is not pretty good because there is no focus on reducing stress in the critical time. This means that doctors fight with metastases after the passing of critical time. This study contradicts the medical community’s assumption in which immunotherapy is not recommended to patients at least the week before and after surgery.
“Medical and immunotherapeutic intervention to reduce psychological and physiological stress, and activate the immune system in the critical period before and after the surgery, can prevent the development of metastases, which will be discovered months or years later”, Prof. Ben-Eliyahu stated.